What are the best alternatives for students turned off the bar due to lack of pupillages and legal aid cuts?

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By Alex Aldridge on

Top solicitors and barristers advise undergrads at Legal Cheek Careers at Inner Temple

Yesterday five leading lawyers spent an hour fielding questions from more than 100 undergraduate students at Inner Temple‘s annual careers day.

All the panelists had an interest in advocacy but had opted to pursue careers outside the Inns of Court; they spent the session giving the audience of wannabe lawyers a sense of the many options available to them at a time when pupillage numbers have fallen below the 400 mark but City law firms are thriving.

Shearman & Sterling partner Mark Soundy explained how he wanted to be a barrister before he discovered his passion for dealmaking. King & Wood Mallesons‘ Jeremy Consitt went one step further, qualifying as a barrister before finding his feet working in law firms and becoming a solicitor specialising in employment litigation.

The audience also heard how the early advocacy forays of Mayer Brown solicitor-advocate and partner Angus Duncan have since evolved into a career overseeing the tactical side of high value insurance litigation. And City University Law School pro bono chief Sarwan Singh spoke of his journey from the bar to academia, via lengthy stints working in-house in law centres and local government.

Finally, Tom Leech QC talked to the students about life as an in-house barrister in Herbert Smith Freehills‘ advocacy unit. Watch the quintet impart their hard-earned wisdom in the video above.

Legal Cheek Careers‘ session was part of the wider Inner Temple undergraduate careers day. Check out the #QandAIT hashtag for tweets from the event.

For more from the panellists, read the articles they wrote for Legal Cheek in advance of the event

Mark Soundy: What I wish I’d known when starting my career as a City solicitor

Jeremy Consitt: The hard route to becoming a City lawyer

Angus Duncan: I wouldn’t recommend studying law as an undergraduate if you want to be a lawyer

Sarwan Singh: 7 pieces of advice I’d give to my junior barrister self

Tom Leech QC: To be a good advocate you need courage above all

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